Teamwork makes the dream work

Lizanne Van Vuuren By

It’s safe to say that (amongst other things) the success of the row was largely due to incredible perseverance and team work. We had a whole network of people who worked so hard behind the scenes to help us reach our goal.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The row was by far the strongest team that I’ve ever had the privilege to be part of. It changed my view on ‘Teamwork’ knowing that we can achieve so much more by working together. Since being back from the row I have looked around me to find that all our relationships are little networks of teams. Our families, friendships, relationships and our working environments. It’s a gift to be able to surround yourself with people who join forces for the greater good.

Even though the six of us set out to conquer new grounds; it would not have been possible without the help of so many people including Ella (who posted our blogs while we were at sea, as well as lead our social media), Kirsten (who monitored or emails), Keith (our sport psychologist), Tony (our onshore support) and of course our friends, families and amazing supporters.

Due to the stressful environments we faced on the boat we all had our own tasks to fulfill, and we helped each other through difficulties. We divided and conquered; even if your task was to simply make lunch for your rowing buddy during that shift.

I would encourage everyone to look at your relationships and realize that if you work together as a team you should be able to encourage each other to bring out the best in your abilities.



  1. Jim Andrews says:

    I liken your Pacific row to the Apollo 13 mission. I certainly followed both missions with the same exitement, trepidation and admiration. Nasa, Tony, Keith etc were mission control Apollo 13 and Doris were the fabulous craft that allowed you to venture, safely where No Astronauts or, 4 girls had ventured before. The excellent teamwork and support backing up both missions, coupled with the courage and cool heads of the crew is what allowed both to be successful and have happy endings. Of course, the Astronauts did not have to endure the discomfort or duration of your mission but, the parallels are obvious……to me. XX

  2. JG says:

    The original and basis for all teams is, of course, the family.

    Those nations whose people have strong family networks that encompass newborn to oldest member are the happiest and, in my experience, the most likely to form teams.

    In Great Britain, England to be precise, the North tends to have a population that is strongly family based. Further South this becomes less and less apparent due, I believe, to the mobility of the inhabitants as a result of job flexibility.

    Here today gone tomorrow following the career.

    Case in point. Three years ago we bought a car from the local family owned franchise. The salesman was not cast in the traditional mould of the typical salesman but was an efficient charming and considerate young man. Today on the car’s MOT anniversary I discovered he had left the company to ‘pursue his career’ . The team, from my perspective, appeared to have broken up. I asked the receptionist, a young lady equally delightful in every way, and who I always looked forward to dealing with, if she would leave.

    Her reply was that having previously worked in a multi outlet group with an obscure management structure where she was just a reference number on a payslip she found that the team spirit in her current job was a far superior environment and that she felt valued.

    Teamwork starts at the top. The most efficient companies with the friendliest and most competent staff are the ones with the best managers.

    My car dealer is a classic example of dedicated family ownership that invests in it’s staff and has created a strong team that can cope with the peripatetic tendencies of car salesmen and still provide high standards.

    So yes Lizanne you are right of course – the team is the basis of success.

    As Aristotle said – The whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts.

    Thank you for your sunshine on this grey day.

    Best wishes JG

  3. Barney says:

    I fancy that Emma, Lizanne and Meg would have succeeded in most team set-ups. I did not get so good a picture of Izzy, as Leg 1 was not as stressful as 2 and 3 (from the armchair at least). We had the hiccup of the ‘let’s go back it’s wet out here’ but even then it was an early upset which was never going to jeopardise the mission. The real risk of a fall out seemed to be between Laura and Nats, the 2 dominant personalities, with the younger girl holding the captain’s ticket. How they ended up as the best of friends has to be the subject of a worthwhile thesis!!

    If you have got a date for that gala dinner for April please announce on the website as some of us are still relying on this for info, or maybe I am the only one!

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